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updated: 4/30/2013 6:03 PM

Look, but stay back from great horned owl baby

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  • A baby great horned owl rests in a tree last week in the Fabyan Forest Preserve near Geneva. The mother was close by, keeping an eye on all onlookers.

       A baby great horned owl rests in a tree last week in the Fabyan Forest Preserve near Geneva. The mother was close by, keeping an eye on all onlookers.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 

A baby great horned owl is drawing spectators to the Fabyan Forest Preserve near the Japanese Garden on the west side.

But curious viewers were getting too close to its nest, including moving picnic tables close to the tree. So the Kane County Forest Preserve District has put up some snow fencing. People can still see the owls with cameras, according to district wildlife biologist William Graser.

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Great horned owls typically hatch in late winter. They can grow to have a wingspan of up to 5 feet. They are predators, dining on small- and medium-sized mammals, from mice to skunks, as well as insects and even other birds. American crows particularly hate them, and will gather in mobs to harass an owl, according to the Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology; the owls feed on crows, including nestlings. They have also been known to eat nestling peregrine falcons.

For several years, great horned owls nested in trees near the Kane County Courthouse in downtown Geneva. No such sightings yet have been reported by the Kane County Audubon Society.

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